As he waited thus, a frog came to the edge of the water and asked: "Uncle, why don't you bustle about today for food as usual ?"
"My dear friend," said Slow-Poison, "I am afflicted. Why should I wish for food? For this evening, as I was bustling about for food, I saw a frog and made ready to catch him. But he saw me and, fearing death, he escaped among some Brahmans intent upon holy recitation, nor did I perceive which way he went. But in the water at the edge of the pond was the great toe of a Brahman boy, and stupidly deceived by its resemblance to a frog, I bit it, and the boy died immediately. Then the sorrowing father cursed me in these terms: 'Monster! Since you bit my harmless son, you shall for this sin become a vehicle for frogs, and shall subsist on whatever they choose to allow you.' Consequently, I have come here to serve as your vehicle."
The finest horse I've seen,
Or elephant, or chariot,
Or man-borne palanquin.
The next day, Slow-Poison was wily enough to move very slowly. So Water-Foot said: "My dear Slow-Poison, why don't you carry us nicely, as you did before?"
When Slow-Poison heard this, he quivered with joy in every member and made haste to say: "Why, that is a part of the curse laid on me by the Brahman. For that reason I am greatly pleased at your command." So he ate frogs uninterruptedly, and in a very few days he grew strong. And with delight and inner laughter he said:
Within my power have passed.
The only question that remains,
Is: How long will they last?
Water-Foot, for his part, was befooled by Slow-Poison's plausibility's, and did not notice a thing.
I have it well in mind;
But I am marking time, as did
The Brahman butter-blind.
"How was that?" asked the snake. And Slow-Poison told the story of